Transformation? Yes, Please!
In order to save myself, I must destroy first the me I was told to be
I believe deeply in the pivot and reinvention. In other words, whether it’s the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, The New Negro Movement, or getting my master’s degree at the tender age of 50, I fervently believe in transformation. After all, it is the foundation of everything, great love, great heartache, baby steps, and great leaps forward.
The past five years have been chocked full to the rafters with change. I move to South Korea---fulfilling a lifelong dream to live abroad, nursed my mom through hospice, got my master’s degree---another bucket list entry crossed off, and finished the second book in my yet-to-be-sold historical mystery series after seven years. Those are the biggies, but I would argue that the little things have had nearly equal impact. I managed to survive the transition from teaching adults to teaching children. I figured out how to navigate a foreign country sans the local language. I am currently---along with the rest of you---surviving a pandemic as best I can, and I have spent not just my adult life, but my whole life, single.
It’s not news that all of these things, the big and the small(ish) can change a gal, transform her, and in this spirit, I would like to take this year to explore a few periods in my life when I have been transformed.
I will start with leaving Detroit for California. I was born in Detroit, but my mom moved my brother and me to California in ’73. I credit this as my first instance of transformation. Away from grandparents, aunts and uncles, and extended family, my strong, brave single mother had to transform herself in order to sustain her young family. She had to be open to the vagaries of a new job, a new state, and a new way of being. And perhaps in doing so, she also had to make my brother and I open to these things, too. On our own, we had to transform from kids surrounded by a large extended family who could catch us when we fell and scraped our knees or who had our backs when we had to fight the neighborhood bully to kids who had to figure things out by hook or by crook, digging deep to find our inner strength in the face of childhood bullshit. Being a small, intrepid family of three---with the occasional assist from my mom’s baby sister---transformed us in big and small ways that none of us will ever truly know, but that I sincerely believe we benefited from every day, and which continue to this day. Some could argue that they may have also hindered us in some ways, made us afraid in a different way, less willing to trust. There way be some truth to this, but who isn't afraid? Who doesn't push suspicion aside every day to attempt the new?
I have a terrible memory, but one indelible memory and example of how something simple can transform your life is the time my mom taught me how to take the bus by myself when I was ten years old. (For the full story click here) I was transformed from a neighborhood-centered kid to a kid who could go to the main library on my own or Tower Records with my bestie Dana if I had the round trip ten cents to spare (Man, I’m fucking old!). That key to freedom drastically transfigured my life in incalculable ways---again, big and small. I have no doubt this lesson conducted out of necessity because my single mom simply did not have the time to ferry me everywhere, was the foundation of all my future travels, and why I currently live in South Korea. Transformed.
Most people are resistant to change, to transformation, and not all change is necessarily good, but all change is transformative. I say, why not embrace it!
***A quick programming note: After 5 years, I have switched to posting every other month instead of monthly. There are still loads of stories to share, but not as much time to do it.
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come back in May when I will catch you up and share how turning 52 feels. Yikes!
In the meantime, be kind to one another, keep on traveling with a feminist eye, and keep on being Feminist AF!